1 Peter 1:6 – In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials. (RSV)
Marathon racing takes the lead on my sporting list. Not only do I enjoy watching folks participating, but I myself enjoy participating physically.
My former sporting forays were often marred by disappointments; I appeared at the bottom of the list after each racing competition. The problem was that my racing speed declined whenever I was racing upwards on a slope. In a training session following one of the events, there was an emphasis on racing uphill. Praise God, I can now compete favourably, after the "hard-knock" hill-climbing training.
One special fact I always notice while racing is that at the top of every hill there is either a slope downwards or a straight track.
Before anyone can be used of God, he or she ought to undergo a "hard-knock" training, so as to become equipped for the adversary. Usually, this training comes in the form of afflictions or trials. Many of God's co-workers whose lives are recorded in the Holy Scriptures were trained in the "hard-knock" style. Moses, for one, had to spend forty years in the wilderness attending to this training before he could be used of God. Several other examples could be cited: Joseph, David, Daniel, Paul. For each of them, successful service in faith was preceded by "hard-knock" training.
Whatever the form of our training today, let us pray that we will submit to God's leadings and appreciate them, for the end result is for our own good. Having gone through the same training, King David is quoted thus: "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes." (Psalm 119:71 RSV)
Let us pray that we may endure today's affliction, for everything always works for the good of those who fear the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, we ask for the faith of endurance during the moments of testing, that we may partake of whatever it breeds. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.